PHILADELPHIA — Here's what a draft of the Republican platform says on abortion. The language, unchanged in any substantial way from the 1996 platform, is being considered during two days of meetings.
"The Supreme Court's recent decision, prohibiting States from banning partial-birth abortions — a procedure denounced by a committee of the American Medical Association and rightly branded as four-fifths infanticide — shocks the conscience of the nation. As a country, we must keep our pledge to the first guarantee of the Declaration of Independence.
"That is why we say the unborn child has a fundamental individual right to life which cannot be infringed. We support a human life amendment to the Constitution and we endorse legislation to make clear that the Fourteenth Amendment's protections (against the deprivation of life or liberty without due process) apply to unborn children. Our purpose is to have legislative and judicial protection of that right against those who perform abortions. We oppose using public revenues for abortion and will not fund organizations which advocate it.
"We support the appointment of judges who respect traditional family values and the sanctity of innocent human life. Our goal is to ensure that women with problem pregnancies have the kind of support, material and otherwise, they need for themselves and for their babies, not to be punitive towards those for whose difficult situation we have only compassion.
"We oppose abortion, but our pro-life agenda does not include punitive action against women who have an abortion."
The section of the platform dealing with abortion and other matters welcomes diverse views generally, without extending that welcome specifically to the abortion debate. Here's what that section, also essentially unchanged from 1996, says:
"We are the party of the open door, determined to strengthen the social, cultural, and political ties that bind us together and make our country the greatest force for good in the world.
"Steadfast in our commitment to our ideals, we recognize that members of our party can have deeply held and sometimes differing views. This diversity is a source of strength, not a sign of weakness, and so we welcome into our ranks all who may hold differing positions. We commit to resolving our differences with civility, trust, and mutual respect."